Archaeological Evidence Supporting the Credibility and Accuracy of the Bible
Posted by Tony Listi on December 19, 2007
The Ketef Hinnom Amulets
In 1979, a team of Israeli archaeologists discovered two tiny silver scrolls/amulets, the oldest extant pieces of the Hebrew Bible. These amulets were dated to the 7th c. BC and had the Priestly Blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. This discovery cast doubt on skeptical theories that the Torah was written much later by scribes who learned their monotheism from Zoroastrian priests in Babylon during the Babylonian Exile.
The Merneptah Stela
In 1896, a seven foot slab of black granite was discovered in a temple in Thebes, Egypt. It was erected by Pharaoh Merneptah, son of Ramses the Great. The stela was dated to 1209/1208 BC and reads “Israel is laid waste; its seed is not.” This discovery definitely proves, contrary to some skeptics, that a people known as the Israelites existed and were known in Egypt.
The House of David Inscription
On July 21, 1933, a basalt stone, written in Old Aramaic that mentions explicitly the House of David was found at Tel Dan in Northern Israel, near the foot of Mt. Hermon. It was dated to the end of the 9th or the beginning of the 8th c. BC and also refers to events recorded in the Old Testament Book of 2 Kings. This discovery contradicts skeptics, such as Israel Finkelstein and Thomas L. Thompson at the University of Copenhagen, who claimed biblical figures such as King David and Solomon never really existed historically.
The Moabite Stone/Mesha Stela
In 1868, F. A. Klein discovered a stela written in Moabite around 930 BC. It reads, “I am Mesha, son of Kemoshmelek, the king of Moab, the Dibonite…. And [the god] Chemosh said to me, ‘Go, take Nebo against Israel and I went by night and fought against it…. And I took from there the altar-hearths of Yahweh, and I dragged them before Chemosh. And the king of Israel built Jabaz and dwelt in it while he fought with me and Chemosh drove him out from before me.”
It thus mentions Israel and its God and closely mirrors the Bible, i.e. 2 Kings 3:4-5, “Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams. But it happened, when Ahab died, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. At Tel Dan in 1993, French scholar Andre Lemaire discovered that “House of David” appeared in line 31 on the stone.
Again, this discovery contradicts the claim that King David never existed and correlates with events testified to in the Bible
Pharaoh Shishak/Shoshenq’s Victory Lists
Archaeologists have long known about the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq and his conquests from the carvings on the temple of Amun at Karnak. This Pharaoh and his exploits can also be found in 2 Chronicles 12 of the Bible, in which he ravages Jerusalem, Rehov, and Megiddo, and Hazor.
In 2003, scientists at Tel Rehov in Israel used carbon dating to confirm that Shoshenq’s lootings took place in the 10th c. BC and that the cities that the Bible mentions Shoshenq conquering actually existed when it said they did. This included the cities mentioned in the Book of Joshua: Beth-Horon (10:10), Gibeon (9:3), Megiddo (12:21), and Gaza (10:41).
In 1910, archaeologist G. A. Reisner found 63 potsherds in Samaria with Old Hebrew script on them written in ink called ostraca. They are dated to around 784-783 BC, contain ancient commercial records, and 30 of them name the clan or district of 7 of the 10 sons of Manasseh as well as two daughters of Zelophehad, all of which are mentioned in Joshua 17:2-3.
The Seal of Baruch
In 1975, a bulla or clay seal was discovered in Israel. Written in Old Hebrew, it was dated to around 600 BC and authenticated by Israeli archaeologists. It reads, “Blessed of God, son of Neriah, the scribe.” This is very likely the seal of Baruch mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah: “In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah…. Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote down in the scroll, at Jeremiah’s dictation, all the words which the Lord had spoken to him” (Jer 36:1,4). The fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign is estimated to be around 605 BC, corresponding with the time period of the seal.
In 1996, a second and similar seal was found but with a thumbprint as well.
These discoveries again provide further evidence that the people of the Bible are not fictional characters but actually lived as historical figures.
The Ebla Tablets
In 1964, Italian archaeologists from the University of Rome excavated a palace at Tell Mardikh in northern Syria. Inside they found a library of thousands of cuneiform tablets dating from around 2300 BC. Written in Sumerian and Akkadian, they reveal laws, customs, and events that are in harmony with the Book of Genesis. They also explicitly mention the five undiscovered cities mentioned in Gen 14:8, including Sodom and Gomorrah, that skeptics said never existed.
The Siloam Tunnel (or Hezekiah’s Tunnel)
In 1838, a 1750 foot long tunnel was found in Jerusalem. In 2003, Israeli and British scientists tested the organic material within the plaster lining of the tunnel to date the tunnel to around 700 BC. The researchers published their findings in the September 2003 issue of Nature.
According to 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30 (and perhaps verses 2-4), a great tunnel was built during the reign of Hezekiah (727-698 BC) to cut off Assyria’s water supply (who Israel was at war with) and secure their own supply. Again, Scripture seems to match up with science, archaeology, and history.
The Nuzi Tablets
In 1925 at Nuzi in Northern Iraq, 4000 cuneiform tablets written in Akkadian were found and dated to 2300 BC. They describe customs parallel to those written in the Book of Genesis, such as a barren wife giving a slave (such as Hagar in Gen 16) to her husband (Abram) to produce an heir OR a father choosing a bride (like Rebekah in Gen 24) for his son.
This proves skeptics wrong who have called certain practices in the Bible cultural anomalies.
Evidence for The Exodus
In the late 19th century, a series of cuneiform letters dictated by the Pharaohs Amenhotep III (c. 1391 BC) and Tutankhamen (1330 BC) were discovered. It tells of groups of foreigners that were brigands or “disenfranchised peoples on the outskirts of society.” To the clean-shaven Egyptians, the bearded Jews of the Bible probably would have counted as uncivilized riffraff.
The Hatshepsut Chapel
Historian Robert Stieglitz of Rutgers University argues that the carvings on a chapel of Egyptian Queen Maakare Hatshepsut refer to the expulsion of a group of “foreigners amongst them”-a reference that closely mirrors Numbers 11:4, which states that the Israelites fleeing Egypt included “a mixed multitude” and not just the Israelites.
In 1887, more cuneiform tablets were discovered in Egypt, written by Canaanite scribes in Akkadian. They are the correspondence between vassal kings in Canaan and the Egyptian pharaohs around 1330 BC. They mention a people known as the “habiru” attacking cities in Canaan and causing trouble in Egypt itself. The letters contain eerie similarities with the biblical accounts of the Jewish conquest of the region of Canaan. For instance, the vassal Abdu-Heba of Jerusalem writes to the Egyptian pharaoh that “the Habiru sack the territories of the king” and insists that “if there are archers [sent] this year, all the territories of king will remain (intact); but if there are no archers, the territories of the king, my Lord, will be lost!”
The Pontius Pilate Inscription
In 1962, an Italian archaeologist found inscription at Caesarea Maritima on the coast of Israel south of Haifa, the center of Roman administration of the region at the time of Christ. It reads, “Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”
This discovery proved that Pontius Pilate actually existed, for no such hard evidence existed until then.